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The Underground Town of Coober Pedy

Home > South Australia > Long Weekend | Places of Interest | Travel | Unusual Events | Unusual Things to do
Published April 7th 2019
Activities for a long weekend in Coober Pedy
Not everyone would think of Coober Pedy as somewhere to spend a weekend away. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if people wouldn't bother to consider it at all. From Adelaide to Coober Pedy is 850km, therefore, roughly an eight and a half hour journey alone. However, Easter is approaching and a long weekend getaway would be an egg-cellent idea.

There's a reason a lot of people head to the town, most famous for its beautiful opals and moon-like landscapes. It's been the backdrop of many movies like Pitch Black starring Vin Diesel and Mad Max starring Mel Gibson. The spaceship built as a prop for Pitch Black still remains in the town along the main street and it is accessible to be viewed and photographed.

ventilation desert heat
Air vents sticking up from underground buildings, Coober Pedy

Due to the heat during the summer months, a lot of Coober Pedy has been built underground and its churches are no exception. There are four that can be visited or viewed from the street; St Nicholas' Greek Orthodox Church on St Nicholas Street, the Catacomb Church on Catacomb Road, the Catholic Church on Hutchison Street and the Serbian Orthodox Church on St Elijah Drive.

underground church orthodox
Serbian Orthodox Church, Coober Pedy

Museums, galleries and jewellers abound along Hutchison Street. Many of them have accompanying cafes like Waffles & Gems and Downunder Gallery and Café.

Exploring beyond the main street you'll find The Big Winch which overlooks the town. From up here, you can see how deep in the hillsides some buildings go, indicated by air vents sticking up out of the ground. Instead of an Easter Egg Hunt, there's an area specifically set aside for noodling to search for the towns biggest drawcard along Jewellers Shop Road ("noodling" is another word for fossicking but pays particular reference to opals). You can use your hands to noodle, however, using any type of digging tool is a no-no and requires a permit as it then regarded as mining. Kids love being able to get their hands dirty in the hopes of finding some glistening opals.

noodling fossicking
People noodling for opals on Jewellers Shop Road, Coober Pedy

There's no shortage at all of places to stay in Coober Pedy either above ground or underground whether they are motels or Bed & Breakfasts. Located on Potch Place, Potch & Colour Pet-Friendly Apartment is, like its name suggests, pet-friendly and completely self-contained. If you've got the kids in tow, that's fine too as the apartment has a bunk bed for them to sleep in. Bookings are essential and the hosts are lovely people.

Coober Pedy is home to a very multicultural community. A lot of European migrants settled there in from the 1960s to the 1980s to seek their fortune. Most still remain. Despite such diversity, there are a lot of places selling pizza. You'd think there would food diversity to reflect the cultural diversity but it seems pizza was the winner. I'm sure that anywhere that sells pizza will have delicious ones on offer, however, John's Pizza Bar & Restaurant is my personal favourite with the Spartan pizza being my number one menu choice. If you like yiros, you'll like the Spartan.

The Coober Pedy Visitor Information Centre is open from Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm and weekends and public holidays from 9am to 1pm.
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Your Comment
Great article Teagan, really interesting!
by Michael Genrich (score: 3|1886) 1531 days ago
Coober Pedy is on my bucket list. I've been to Lightning Ridge and was amazed.
by May Cross (score: 3|8394) 1531 days ago
Nice article Teagan. I've been to Coober Pedy twice, but never ventured past the aerodrome as a refuelling stop, so never saw the town as you did.
by Neil Follett (score: 3|4770) 1531 days ago
A very informative tour is run from the caravan park around the town and the mystical Breakaways, dog fence and a rough outback road included. About 5 hours duration
by Racaw (score: 0|8) 1366 days ago
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